Second-year PGA TOUR player Josh Teater, who has made only four cuts in 10 tries this year, is on fire at Redstone: He's birdied two of his last three holes to get to 7 under through 15.
With one more birdie, Teater would break his career low round, set last year at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (Round 4) and Wyndham Championship (Round 4).
Two of the top five finishers at The Honda Classic -- winner Rory Sabbatini and Tommy Gainey, who claimed solo fifth -- were playing for the eighth consecutive week on the PGA TOUR.
They weren't alone. Among players who have earned FedExCup points, seven have played in every full-field event this season. Joining Sabbatini and Gainey are Spencer Levin, William McGirt, Jarrod Lyle, Chad Collins and Josh Teater.
Call them the Ironmen of 2011.
An eighth player, Matt Bettencourt, also has made eight starts. But unlike the other seven, he qualified for the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in early January. Bettencourt took the week off two weeks ago before returning to play the Honda Classic.
Sabbatini said Sunday night after his one-stroke win at PGA National that he will actually be playing 10 consecutive weeks. He plans to play at this week's World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and then the following week at the Transitions Championship.
"I think we might have to do a little conversing as to whether or not we are going to continue on to Bay Hill," he said. "My wife made me promise her that when I won, I'd take some time off."
Players usually don't play that many consecutive weeks for fear of getting worn out -- both physically and emotionally. But Sabbatini said he felt like his game was headed in the right direction and he wanted to continue building on the momentum rather than take a week off to rest.
"I felt like something good was going to happen," he said. "I guess if you flip a coin enough times, you are eventually going to end on the right side."
Gainey has two top-10 finishes in his last five starts and seems to be much closer in claiming the first TOUR win of his career. He was originally scheduled in the field at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com but withdrew late Monday morning.
Teater is scheduled to compete in Puerto Rico this week, leaving he and Sabbatini as the last Ironmen standing.
PLAYING EIGHT CONSECUTIVE WEEKS
These players have played every week on TOUR starting with the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of 2011:
|Player||FedExCup rank||FedExCup points||Best finish in 2011|
|Rory Sabbatini||3||724||Winner, The Honda Classic|
|Spencer Levin||15||487||Playoff runner-up, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Tommy Gainey||34||268||Fifth, The Honda Classic|
|William McGirt||72||136||Tied for 19th, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Jarrod Lyle||75||132||Tied for fifth, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Chad Collins||142||50||Tied for 42nd, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Josh Teater||207||10||Tied for 63rd, Farmers Insurance Open|
Only one rookie has made it to THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola each of the last three years – Brandt Snedeker in 2007, Andres Romero in 2008 and Marc Leishman in 2009. Each went on to win PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year honors.
If another first-year player gets to Atlanta this year, it just might be Josh Teater. The Nationwide Tour grad is the only rookie among the current top 31 players on the leaderboard.
The Kentuckian has made two birdies in his first five holes to move to 5 under for the tournament. His best finish in 25 starts this year is a tie for third at the Turning Stone Resort Championship and followed by a tie for 18th a week ago in Greensboro.
As a result, Teater came to New Jersey ranked 88th in the FedExCup but is currently projected at No. 57. Of course, a lot can happen, but he’s certainly moving in the right direction.
Josh Teater has had a solid rookie season that included a tie for third three weeks ago at the Turning Stone Resort Championship.
His last seven rounds have been in the 60s, and the trend appears to be continuing Thursday at The Barclays. The Nationwide Tour grad just made his seventh birdie of the day at the 15th hole to move into a tie for the lead with Tiger Woods, Ryan Palmer and Brian Gay at 5 under.
The 31-year-old from Kentucky entered The Barclays ranked 88th in the FedExCup. – Helen Ross